Bowie, Lester - The Great Pretender

SKU 28-ECM1209
I miss Lester and his music and his humor (and labcoat). And this was a fun, unexpected album when it appeared on ECM in 1981.

"Lester was pomo before there was pomo. The reviewer says that its suspended between "kitsch and concerto." Exactly -- Lester Bowie obliterated such distinctions. The standout cut is the absolutely monumental reworking of the Platters' "The Great Pretender" featuring doo-wop vocals, a variety of slurred half-valve trumpet techniques a la Bubber Miley/Cootie Williams, and a scorching double time bari sax solo by Hamiet Bluiett. (Be forewarned -- when this came on the radio one afternoon in the car, the overblowing part of the solo had a friend of mine threatening to drive the car off a bridge if I didn't turn it off.) The piece ends with Bowie sounding like Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" intoning "Hey, baby I'm here...I...have...arrived...he,he,he." "Rios Negros" is based on a repeated vamp; Bowie solos, pianist Donald Smith solos, and then Bowie comes back with a muted solo to finish. "Rose Drop" and "Oh, How the Ghost Sings" are exercises in atmospherics. "Howdy Doody Time" and "When the Doom (Moon) Comes Over the Mountain" are along the "Great Pretender" model of deconstructing pop culture themes."-M. Noland

Lester Bowie-trumpet
Hamiet Bluiett-baritone saxophone
Donald Smith-piano, organ
Fred Williams-basses
Phillip Wilson-drums
Fontella Bass-vocal
David Peaston-vocal
  • LabelECM
Your Price $11.00

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